Alma Katsu at Novel Places with a Dark Halloween Read

I’ve talked about my first visit to Novel Places before, but this time, I’m going to regale you with my first event adventure at the new bookstore in my area.

I knew Alma Katsu was going to be at the bookstore for more than a month, since I chatted with her online via email, and Patrick (the owner of the store) had told me she would be arriving as well.  So I had plenty of time to prepare and enough reminders!  Thanks for that — this mommy brain forgets things easily.

My husband, “Wiggles,” and I arrived with a few minutes to spare…yes, getting out of the house with a baby on time for anything is difficult — more difficult than I expected.  But we arrived and found a couple of seats, and surprisingly Wiggles seemed at rapt attention during the discussion, though she did have a few opinions to share.  Alma started out by talking a bit about herself and how she came to writing novels later in her life after working with the NSA and CIA!

Then she talked about the book and writing and a bit about the publishing world.  We learned that The Taker was not the original title of the novel — it was The Fallen. The Taker takes place in three time periods — the dark ages in Eastern Europe, the 1800s in Northern Maine before it became a state, and in the present day — and is a story about making the wrong choices and dealing with the consequences. It is far from a light romance and is a dark novel, perfect for the spooky holiday of Halloween.

Later I learned that she did not plan to write a trilogy. We had a great time, and I got a new book signed for myself, and I’m excited to say I’ll be giving away the gently used ARC I’ve read. So stay tuned for details of that international giveaway.

Alma, Wiggles, and Me

Novel Places holds events in the main area of the store, with enough chairs for about 15-20 people, so the event had a nice intimate feel to it. I tend to prefer these kinds of events because the writers seem less nervous and the people in the audience get to converse with the author more easily and ask more questions. There were cookies, Halloween candy, and beverages, which is not the usual for bookstore events, especially at larger stores. It was almost like a book club meeting, which was nice.

I was able to get a few minutes to chat with Alma in person, and Wiggles and I got “Daddy” to take our picture with the author, though I think Wiggles was more interested in mommy’s necklace at the time. We just couldn’t get her to look at the camera. If you’re interested in a short video or other photos, please take a look (though be warned the video is very shaky and short).

For the giveaway:

1. Let me know what you like best about author events or what you’d like to see at author events (i.e. food or authors who read from the book or authors who don’t read from the book, etc.).

2. For up to 3 additional entries, Facebook, Tweet, or blog about the giveaway and leave me a link on this post.

3. Follow Alma on Twitter and/or Facebook for up to 2 more entries.

Deadline is Oct. 31, 2011, at the witching hour. Stay tuned for another chance to win when my review of The Taker posts this week.


  1. I have never been to any author events before, but if I do go to one, I would like to hear the author read from his/her book so you can hear the accent (if there is one) of the character that the author envisioned.
    Follow ALma on Twitter
    Follow Alma on Facebook

  2. My favorite think about author events is being able to ask them questions and the sneak peeks into the next book. Being able to get your book signed is also a perk!
    I followed Alma on twitter and fb.
    Thank you for this giveaway!

  3. Most author events I’ve gone to really didn’t offer more than their own stories and chit chat time. I like the idea of the author really mingling and making it more of an event then a lecture, hope that makes sense.

    I haven’t met Alma, but I’ve been following her on twitter for sometime and I love how personable she seems. I also follower her on facebook 😀 Would LOVE to win!

  4. I wish there were more book signing opportunities in my area. They sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for the chance to win The Taker. It sounds fascinating, very dark and different which are things I look for in my reads.

  5. I don’t have the opportunity to meet many authors, but I think when they read excerpts from their book is great. I gives my reading of it a more personal feeling.
    I cannot wait to read ‘The Taker’, since I first heard of it, I ‘found’ Alma on Twitter and have been following her ever since!

  6. I love seeing how real the authors are at book signings. Also hearing what inspires them.

  7. Glad you enjoyed the event. I knew you were excited about going. I think I’d like the small, intimate feel of the reading myself. No need to enter me; I put the giveaway in my sidebar, though.

  8. I have never attended an author event but I would love to! I think no reading. Perhaps a Q &A might be interesting.


  9. I love hearing how a book came to be but mostly I just love getting to know the author. I love to hear about how they write, what inspires them. I find it fascinating! This book is on my wish list so I would love to enter the giveaway! Thanks for offering it and thanks for sharing the visit with us!


    And how cute are you and Wiggles!

  10. I’ve been seeing a lot of opinions on this book and I’m curious, so please enter me! I just love hearing stories from authors about how their books came to be, getting insights into characters, and learning what’s coming next. I really like when they do Q&As, too. Author events are just fun all around!

  11. I love hearing the inspiration behind an author’s work. I like hearing the background of what inspired the book, why they wrote it, why they CONTINUED to write during hard times, and how they finished. I love hearing about authors’ travels towards publication and the myriad steps involved, which I never would have dreamed of. I like to meet the person behind the book. I usually investigate an author’s background, their life, their history, their cats, their dogs. I may be odd, though, because I love biographies — especially if they are about unusual people or people just a bit outside the norm. I love immersing myself in another life, it’s part of why I love fantasy and historical fiction. I don’t want to read about Jess down the street, I’d rather be in 1800’s Rome for the day, thank you. =) Jo.

  12. I’ve never met an author but I think more than a reading I would like an author to talk about how she came to write.

  13. I leave so far from metro areas that I haven’t had the chance to see an author…yet! There have been several in E. Lansing but they seem to come in the winter which doesn’t always work for me! It looks like you had a great time and I think Alma has a very welcoming face! I liked reading about your experience!

  14. Like Kathy said, we got a chance to sit down and chat with Alma at SIBA and she is so approachable and easy to hang with. Love her! And love her book. I can’t wait until the next one comes out. I am totally on edge with the way The Taker ended.

  15. I am not following Alma Katsu on Twitter (Amestir) and Facebook (Amy Meyer)

    Thank you to Alma for the giveaway of The Taker on her Facebook page!

    [email protected]

  16. Meeting and hearing an author who you know and like and whose work you’ve enjoyed is a great way to spend the afternoon especially when Wiggles and your husband accompany you. Novel Places puts on a very nice, low-key event, my favorite kind! Thank you for sharing your day!

    i like the opportunity to meet the author, ask him/her some questions or hear answers to questions asked by other attendees. I don’t have any major preferences for these events except that the store or place holding it make it a comfortable seeting that fosters people talking to each other and provides the author a chance to speak with those who attend. I haven’t been to many author events but have enjoyed the ones I’ve been to a lot!

    Alma Katsu sounds like a very sweet and interesting woman! I think it’s so cool that she has worked with the CIA and NSA, wow! And now she’s an author and of an intriguing book. I have read a variety of reviews about The Taker which has only made me more interested in reading it!

    Thank you for this giveaway!
    [email protected]

  17. Aww, you guys–the pleasure is all mine! It was great to get to chat with you, Serena, and to meet your husband and “Wiggles.” She did great through the presentation, and she wasn’t the only baby there! It’s so nice to have children in the audience. Thanks for the photographs, too!

  18. I’m so glad you’ve got a new bookstore that’s hosting events! Isn’t Alma great? I was lucky enough to meet her at SIBA.

    • Really loved meeting her. She was so personable…very lovely..and it was good to see that she didn’t plan The Taker to be a trilogy to start out with, though I’m glad it is.